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Serious Games and Gamification in Business

       Bridging the soft skills gap    97% of UK employers believe soft skills are vital for business success, with certain soft skills (communication and team work) being considered more important than academic achievements– yet more than half of UK workers admit to not listing soft skills anywhere  on their CV.  A recent report, prepared on behalf of McDonald’s UK, declares that in the next five years over half a million workers will struggle to progress due to soft skill short comings. This is estimated to amount to a loss of almost £923 million, a year, by 2020 and almost £1.08 billion by 2025.  This isn’t the only cost a skills gap is going to generate. Due to the shortage of workers with appropriate skills, there will be unfilled positions in companies. This shortage of workers will generate a loss of production, costing a further £7.44 billion, per annum, by 2020 rising to £14 billion by 2025. A huge hit to UK businesses! This outcome may not be able to be averted completely however the cost can be reduced if greater esteem is given to soft skills now.   So what are soft skills and how can we develop them?   According to the report, soft skills can be broken up into six key clusters:    Communication skills , for example: effective listening, appropriate and good use of questions, clear and concise direction     Decision Making/Problem Solving , eg. The ability to identify and analyse an issue, take effective and appropriate action, recognise effect of decisions     · Self-Management skills , eg. Self-motivated and proactive personality traits, loyalty, adaptability and the ability to work well under pressure     Teamwork skills , eg. Positive and encouraging attitude, accountability, willingness to share ideas and listen to others views, punctual     Professionalism skills , eg. Appropriate language use, trustworthy, accepting of criticism, realistic understanding of job role     Leadership skills , eg. Strategic thinking, conflict management, respect for others knowledge, recognise others strengths and weaknesses, ability to build relationships   These are the skills that need to be developed for businesses and workers to progress over the next decade. If focus is given to these skills now and our attitudes towards them change, the gap can be bridged to some extent. The huge losses in production and progress will be reduced.  One suggestion, by the report, is to make soft skills training available to employees, equipping workers with appropriate skills for the future. McDonalds showed their devotion to training, and innovative thinking, in 2006; serious games were introduced into employee training and it proved very effective. Since 2006 the serious game industry has grown and improved. They are being used in all sectors for training, growing awareness, even in the school classroom. Shouldn’t there be a game that can offer soft skills training already?  Here at Totem Learning we are happy to declare that we have a modern solution to this growing problem.  Introducing, Unlock: Employability and Unlock: Leadership!   Unlock: Leadership  is a leadership training game for corporate development. The key focus is on leadership skills; players can expect to have their strategic thinking, innovation, even conflict management skills tested, to name just a few. Players will need to recognise when to take the lead, when to follow.  Unlock: Leadership is a four player game; each player must assess their team mates and provide feedback on each individual. Skills and attitude are rated. Upon completion, a report is generated on each player, allowing a facilitator to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their team. The key focus is leadership skill development; however, users can expect to develop other vital soft skills: communication, problem solving, decision making are all key attributes focused on alongside leadership specific traits.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


         Unlock: Employability  is a serious game specific for the education sector. It enables soft skill development for students through immersive, challenging game play and team work.  As with Unlock: Leadership, the game must be played in teams of four. Communication is exclusively in game via an instant messaging window. This serves two purposes. The first is to train student’s communication skills, a vital soft skill for the workplace. Players will quickly learn, to succeed, they must give clear and concise direction to their team mates. The second purpose is so all communication can be captured and assessed. Teachers can use this information to guide students on any area they struggle with and also commend them for areas they excel at.  Screens at the end of each level also provide the player with feedback on their strengths and weaknesses. The feedback screens highlight how these traits are applicable in the workplace and further ways to develop them.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Unlock: Employability and Unlock: Leadership are just an example of how serious games can combat real issues in the workplace, healthcare, even the classroom. This article only highlights the learning benefits of these games and their applications, for further information on either serious game or developing your own contact the totem team today!   If you want to read the full report, you can find it  here .

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BRIDGING THE SOFT SKILLS GAP

97% of UK employers believe soft skills are vital for business success, with certain soft skills (communication and team work) being considered more important than academic achievements–

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       Serious Games awards    Here is a list of awards for serious games, its a work in progress so please contact us if you know of any more we can add - or any more detail about submission deadlines for next year's awards...   Games for Change Awards   New York, Applications Closed 2nd March  The Games for Change Awards celebrate the year's best social impact games. There are three categories; Best Gameplay, Most Significant Impact and Most Innovative. Winners are announced at the Games for Change Festival's Awards Ceremony.   Serious Play Conference Awards   Pittsburgh, Deadline for Applications 1st April, Cost $150-350   The Serious Play Conference, now in our 5th year, is a leadership conference for professionals who embrace the idea that games can revolutionize learning. Speakers, who come from all parts of the globe, share their experience creating or using games in the corporation, classroom, healthcare institution, government and military and offer tips on how to move game-based education programs ahead.    German Computer Game Awards (Serious Game Category)   Netherlands, Applications closed 31st January   In the category of Best Serious Game the best Computer Simulation (Serious Game) will be awarded from Germany. Serious Games use technologies from the computer and video game industry, for example, simulation technologies to treat serious issues in a fun way. So you use the motivational and / or entertaining game mechanics for the transfer of skills and knowledge and can be used in education and training. This category can be awarded in other sectors of the economy as an alternative successful examples of playful representation (Gamification) as well as technology transfer from the computer and video game industry. If there is such a distinction, the category is renamed in the respective year in Best Playful representation (Gamification) and Best Technology Transfer. This award is endowed with € 30,000.00.    Serious Play Awards   California, Application Deadline 14th March   The Immersive Learning Research Network (iLRN) is an international organization of developers, educators, and research professionals collaborating to develop the scientific, technical, and applied potential of immersive learning.    The eLearning Awards (Learning Technologies Award Category)   London, Application Deadline 30th September   Celebrating quality, excellence and best practice The Learning and Performance Institute hosts the annual Learning Awards to recognise outstanding examples of high standards, best practice, innovation and excellence in Learning and Development.    The Fun and Serious Game Festival Awards (Serious Game Category)   Spain, Application Deadline TBC but likely to be September 2016   The Fun & Serious Game Festival was established in 2011 to recognise the best fun and serious games of the year and, through them, the work of artists, developers, directors, producers, and all the professionals in the video game industry.    Bilbao (Spain) will be the city of video games thanks to the 5th Fun & Serious Game Festival, which is becoming a leading event in the sector in Europe.    Awards are given to the best video games in entertainment and other industries. The latter are the so-called ‘Serious Games’ using video game technologies in developments for education, health, aerospace, culture and many other sectors.    The awards are meant to debunk stereotypes about video games and give a well-deserved boost to the video game industry.    GALA Conference Awards   Italy, TBC but likely to be October 2016   The GALA Conf SG Awards wants to favor the flourishing of the SGS market by encouraging students, newcomers, amateurs developers and small studio to present their work in a friendly contest. Organized by the Serious Games Society, the awards are based on the judgment of experts of the SGS network.     The experts will evaluate the user experience and the learning effectiveness of the submitted games. Games on any application field are welcome.    Gamification World Awards   Spain, TBC but likely to be October 2016   The Gamification World Awards (GWA) will honor the most outstanding gamification projects of the year and their creators. Awarded by an international Jury, the main goal is to encourage the various agencies/promoters/companies to share their projects in the Gamification World Map. In addition, they are meant to become an annual meeting point for the gamification industry, where the best projects of the year can be recognized.    The Serious Games Showcase and Challenge   Florida, TBC but likely to be September '16   The Serious Games Showcase & Challenge is the premiere venue for recognition of excellence in the field of Serious Games development. The Challenge prides itself on helping foster creativity and innovation in Serious Games since 2006 as part of NTSA's I/ITSEC Conference held in Orlando, FL.    The Brandon Hall Group Excellence in Learning Awards (Learning and Development Category; Best Use of Games and Simulations for Learning)   Florida, Application Deadline 23rd September '16   Now entering its 21st year, the Brandon Hall Group HCM Excellence Awards Program is the most prestigious awards program in the industry.  Often times called the “Academy Awards” by Learning, Talent and Business Executives, the program was one of the first of its kind in the learning industry, which was pioneered in 1994.    The Dutch Game Awards (Serious Game Category)   Netherlands, TBC   The Dutch Game Awards are the professional awards for the Dutch and Flemish gaming industry. On 30 September they are awarded for the eighth time during the Awards Dinner.    The Tech and Learning Awards   TBC likely to be April '16   Tech & Learning's Awards of Excellence program has been recognizing outstanding ed tech products for over 30 years. With a solid reputation in the industry as a long-standing, high-quality program, the AOE recognizes both creative new offerings and significantly updated products that help educators in the business of teaching, training and managing with technology. All entries are given a rigorous test-driving by qualified educators in several rounds of judging. Products are also carefully screened by the T&L editorial team.   Evaluation criteria include the following: quality and effectiveness, ease of use, creative use of technology, and suitability for use in an educational environment.    eLearning Awards - Best Game for Learning Category   London, Application opens March '16 and closes June '16   The E-Learning Awards showcase some of the most recognisable, memorable, and life-changing e-learning worldwide.  They are internationally recognised and open to organisations of all sizes - if you offer outstanding e-learning, then you should be entering the E-Learning Awards!     Independently judged to the highest and most rigorous of standards, there is no greater recognition of your hard work and commitment to e-learning than winning an E-Learning Award.  Reaching the shortlist is really something to shout about. Winning is proof to your, clients, colleagues and rivals that you're at the top of your game – a shining example to the learning and technology world.    Elearning! Learning Champions Award    TBC, likely to be December '16   The first annual Learning! Champion Awards recognizes individuals for exceptional contributions to the industry. Nominees can be innovators, thought-leaders, trail-blazers, mentors, cutting-edge technologists, rookie of the year, creative consultants, or high performing learning leaders that positively impact the learning industry.  Nominate a client, leader or mentor for consideration.    IMGA International Mobile Gaming Awards    EU Applications closed January'16, but applications are open for the IMGA China, Application Deadline September '16   In 2004 games were made for phones with a resolution 176 x 220 pixels and they had to be below 1 MB in size. Now games are running on devices with 2,048 x 1,536 pixels and many games are heavier than 1 GB. The first IMGA had 85 entrants and it took only half a day to judge them. Now, more than 1000 entries are expected and 20 judges will begin pre-judging three weeks before the actual 2-day judging session in France.    Serious Games and Applications for Health - Papers/Demo/Workshops Submission   Florida, TBC but likely to be November'16   It is with great pleasure that we invite you to participate in the 4th International Conference on Serious Games and Applications for Health, IEEE SeGAH 2016, to be held in Orlando, at the Center for Emerging Media, University of Central Florida, from May 11-13, 2016.    Game Developers Choice Awards   San Francisco and France, TBC   The Game Developers Choice Awards are the premier accolades for peer recognition in the digital games industry. Each year, the Choice Awards recognize and celebrate the creativity, artistry and technical genius of the finest developers and games created in the last year.     VS- Games, Paper Submissions      Applications close 25th March'16    VSGames 2016 aims to continue the series’ overall goals of developing and nurturing theoretical and academic rigour in the discussion of serious games and virtual worlds.    JCSG   - Serious Games Papers Submission   Australia, Application Deadline May'16   We invite researchers, developers, practitioners, designers, writers and artists of serious games to submit their work and join us at JCSG 2016. Accepted papers are expected to present high quality material that illustrates the broad range of work in serious games and gamification, with particular interest in best practice and field / case studies, but also underlying theories, models, designs, and artwork. We seek submissions on serious games, supported on, or across, any technology and delivery platforms, including traditional or novel, augmented and virtual reality, mobile and location-based, and transmedia, etc.    IITSEC   Application Deadline November '16   To recognize the impact of individuals and teams upon not only the I/ITSEC Conference but the greater Training, Modeling and Simulation Community, a variety of awards and recognitions have been established. Each has its own method of nomination and award process, please select the specific award for details and history.     Serious Games Conf, CeBIT    TBC   Under the heading Virtual & Other Realities the 9th Serious Games Conference (SGC) focuses on Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and other digital application environments. Since 2015 the SGC also looks at Applied Interactive Technoligies (APITs) and therefore integrates the potentials for the industry 4.0. Consequently the conference approaches sociocultural as well as economic potentials in the field of Serious Games and Gamification.    

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SERIOUS GAMES AWARDS

Here is a list of awards for serious games, its a work in progress so please contact us if you know of any more we can add - or any more detail about submission deadlines for next year's awards...

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       Serious Games and gamification in Business    Recently Elearning! Magazine published an  article  on Serious Games in the corporate sector. As there were so many good points, and it is our core business at Totem Learning, I’ve taken the opportunity to reblog it here.  In summary:  The first part of the blog sets the scene and explains some of the reasons why games are so effective in the corporate sector. Points include:   Deeper engagement in the learning experience =  higher retention of knowledge and skill transfer  Games encourage failure and exploration, which better reflects the reality of work where there is normally more than one right answer  They use multiple intelligences  Learners are more actively involved and focused than when passively listening to lectures for example   In the second section the author discusses attributes of serious games and compares them to casual, entertainment games. In both you’ll find:   Backstory and story line  Game mechanics (how the game environment reacts to player actions)  Rules  Immersive graphical environment (including 2-D or 3-D graphics, sound and animation)  Challenge or competition  Risks and consequences   In the third there is a little around the cost and timescales of creating serious games. The point is made that the time and cost of creating serious games is coming down making it increasingly viable – and we agree with GameOn’s Bryan Austin when he says: “There isn’t a more effective way to really install key behaviours.”  The fourth section looks at what the future holds and we second many of the points mentioned, having created a customisable new starters’ induction game, and currently developing our exciting new off-the-shelf multiplayer leadership game. Another point we would add is that there is a real opportunity in the corporate sector as well for simulations using augmented and virtual reality. Predictions from the blog are as follows:   “An increase in the acceptance and use of game formats in more and more corporate learning venues as research evidence comes to light about what particular game types work for teaching what particular content, skills or processes.” (Kapp)  “What could create a better first impression for new employees than learning about their new employer by playing games on their smartphone?” (Austin)  “More ‘off-the-shelf’ games aimed at corporate-focused topics like leadership, negotiation, problem-solving and other skills imperative for executives and managers of today’s modern workforces.” (Kapp)  “Platforms that combine sims with other forms of learning. Learning & development departments will partner more with I.T. as full-bodied sims become the norm." (Franklin)  “More gamification: the use of elements of games to enhance learning in the classroom and online but not necessarily always the development of a full-scale game." (Kapp)  “Social learning being incorporated into new formats such as online knowledge- sharing environments — types that leverage talent in creative ways contribute to exponential rates of corporate growth.” (Franklin)  Overall, more serious games in corporate learning as the word gets around.   I’ve pasted the original blog below or you can visit it  here :            How Well-Designed Games Can Stimulate And Enhance The Learning Experience  By Jerry Roche  Serious computer games, as they are designed with the intent of improving a specific aspect of learning, are a “serious” alternative to traditional learning.  Studies over the past decade — including those conducted on business and economics students by the U.S. Department of Defence — prove that more job-transfer benefits are gained through game-enhanced learning as opposed to other modes of learning alone. Since workplace perfor mance depends on the learners’ depth of engagement during their learning experiences, the more engaging the exercise, the higher the retention of knowledge and transfer of skills to the job.  The game rewards decision-making and reasonable risk-taking; can add coaching along the way; and provides diverse experience in thinking skills themselves.  “There is a rapidly growing body of research that learning designed from the ground up as a game creates an ability to cognitively process and apply learning at a much higher level than traditionally designed training,” notes Bryan Austin of GameOn Learning. “The game itself is based around scenarios where the learners must solve problems and challenges to complete the game. The application-level practice builds the confidence to apply the learning back on the job, and also results in significantly greater retention of the learning.  Moreover, games encourage failure and exploration, according to Dr. Karl Kapp, professor, author, consultant and internationally recognized serious games champion. “In most instructional settings, he notes, “any kind of failure is deemed wrong or ‘bad,’ and learners quickly discover that only one answer is appropriate. So they only focus on one thing: getting the right answer — not necessarily learning the content. In most modern work environments, there are many ways of solving problems, dealing with obstacles and creatively finding solutions — more than one right answer.”  Serious games use multiple intelligences for learning (logical, special, linguistics, intrapersonal, kinesthetic, music); they are immersive, engaging and motivating through new technology and interactions; and the game structure is one with which the younger generations of employees are well acquainted.  ”“No matter what age," Dr. Kapp says, “learners learn best from engagement, and [they] tend to be far more involved and active in a game than they are in traditional instructional situations. We know that engaged learners learn more and are more focused than learners who are passively listening to lectures.  Serious Game Attributes  According to Tyson Greer of Ambient Insight, there are four types of simulation-based learning: physical object/ environmental; process; procedural; and situational.  Researchers Stephen M. Alessi of the University of Iowa and Stanley R. Trollip of S.R. Trollip & Associates compressed these four into two instructional strategies: learning about something (physical and process) and learning to do something (procedural and situational).  Game genre, complexity and platforms are as varied as those found in casual games. But they all share a number of traits, including:   Backstory and story line  Game mechanics (how the game environment reacts to player actions)    Rules  Immersive graphical environment (including 2-D or 3-D graphics, sound and animation)  Challenge or competition    Risks and consequences   Mary Jo Dondlinger, an assistant professor of Educational Technology at Texas A&M University-Commerce, says that a well designed game motivates players to spend extra time mastering skills. “A number of distinct design elements, such as narrative context, rules, goals, rewards, multi-sensory cues and interactivity, seem necessary to stimulate desired learning outcomes, she says.  Sharon Boller, president of Bottom-Line Performance, believes that games should avoid merely giving learners with a “click-next” experience: “Instead of telling people what they need to know, force them to find it or figure it out if they want to succeed in the game. Make succeeding in the game mirror what it takes to succeed in their jobs.”  Yet care must be taken before exposing serious games to potential learners. “[They] are most effective when the instructor first briefs the learners on what they are expected to learn during the game, the learners play the game, and then the instructor debriefs the students,” notes Dr. Kapp.  What About Time And Money?  The average cost for a custom-built adult e-learning game can range from $15,000 to $50,000 or more, depending on complexity and levels of play. Some games can be bought off the shelf and repurposed for much less.  But “the cost of custom-developed serious games is coming down, so we’ll see them in use more, especially if the learning is strategic or the audience size is large, says GameOn’s Austin. “There isn’t a more effective way to really install key behaviors.  It has been suggested that employee performance improvement is directly related to return on investment (ROI). Whether the game or simulation is part of a blended-media course or a stand-alone course, in many cases it can complement or replace existing course materials cost-effectively, taking the overall program or curriculum to a higher level and positively affecting ROI and corporate profits. Regrettably, there is no specific research data that applies to this generally accepted concept.  Time is another consideration if a certain learning initiative is on a strict deadline, because (unless you can use an off-the-shelf solution) it can take months to create a serious game that will provide the desired results. That problem is not without a solution.  “We’re working with teams that develop game-enabled learning platforms, says Austin. “These allow our clients to develop more engaging, highly-interactive learning in 10 percent of the time required to develop traditional e-learning. [That approach is] great for sales training, call centers and onboarding.”  What The Future Holds  As serious games converge with virtual worlds, enterprise learning environments will become integrated into the actual work environment. This is likely to have considerable impact on game design, as learning designers will need to concern themselves as much (if not more) with organizing and structuring the learning experience as with parsing and presenting learning content.  Here is what some respected analysts forecast:     “An increase in the acceptance and use of game formats in more and more corporate learning venues as research evidence comes to light about what particular game types work for teaching what particular content, skills or processes.” (Kapp)  “What could create a better first impression for new employees than learning about their new employer by playing games on their smartphone?” (Austin)  “More ‘off-the-shelf’ games aimed at corporate-focused topics like leadership, negotiation, problem-solving and other skills imperative for executives and managers of today’s modern workforces.” (Kapp)  “Platforms that combine sims with other forms of learning. Learning & development departments will partner more with I.T. as full-bodied sims become the norm." (Franklin)    “More gamification: the use of elements of games to enhance learning in the classroom and online but not necessarily always the development of a full-scale game." (Kapp)  “Social learning being incorporated into new formats such as online knowledge- sharing environments — types that leverage talent in creative ways contribute to exponential rates of corporate growth.” (Franklin)  Overall, more serious games in corporate learning as the word gets around.      The gamification market will reach 5.5 billion dollars by 2018, a 67% CAGR according to Markets & Markets. Are you ready?

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SERIOUS GAMES AND GAMIFICATION IN BUSINESS

Recently Elearning! Magazine published an article on Serious Games in the corporate sector. As there were so many good points, and it is a subject so close to our core business at Totem Learning, I’ve taken the opportunity to reblog it here.

In summary:

The first part of the blog sets the scene and explains some of the reasons why games are so effective in the corporate sector. Points include:

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